Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Birthday Hijinks

December may be given over to Christmas (despite being the birthday months of my friends, father-in-law and the fabulous Miss B) but the party doesn't stop with New Year.  With more birthdays than you can shake a stick at, January is a busy month too.

Miss B has more birthdays than the Queen. She had her ACTUAL birthday in December, celebrated with just us, a party tea in early January with her best friend Olivia and our ace WildThing Family mates who came to visit, and her party with school friends in mid January, which was divided into a party for 7 and a sleepover for 3. More of that in a moment.

Zach became a teenager this past month. We went out for dinner as a family on the night itself. With mates he didn't want a big celebration, just some close friends to sleep over after gaming through the night. He wanted a black forest cake like the one mentioned in Portal and Portal 2, but everyone knows that cake is a lie.  It said so right on top of it.
(piped with not-properly-melted chocolate on not-quite-set icing as he came down the stairs, so it was pretty messy)

Two nieces, my brother and my mum all have January birthdays as well. I'd taken over gifts for Neil and the girls with the Christmas stuff, but was uselessly behind with Mum's present.  I was making her a padded iPad cover, nice and snug to protect it when she travels, but I messed up the measurements and made it 2mm too tight. So I had to start again, and thus post it a bit late.  Not exactly ideal, but at least the finished present was nice.

I was really pleased with Bonnie's party this year.  I wanted to keep it fairly low-cost while still being loads of fun and something a little different.  Knowing how much she  loves to dress up and preen, we decided on a "photo shoot."

I ordered some photo props on sticks made from card - glasses, moustaches, bow ties - through eBay for about £4.  We moved the big mirror into the kitchen, propped it on the table as a dressing area, and heaped costume jewellery, hair clips, scarves, hats, shawls and anything else we could think or up for the kids to play with.

Using a double duvet cover hung from a shelving unit as a backdrop and old bedside lamps to improve the lighting, we had our "studio."

 A couple of old frames with the pictures and glass removed and we were set for the party guests.  Of course, we needed a couple of practise models to make sure the lights and backdrop would work ok.    What can I say, I've a face for radio.

The girls had a fantastic time.  I took the pictures with my iPhone, nothing fancy, and kept a tick sheet next to me to ensure I got several photos of each child.  I didn't want to discover as I went to print them out I had 25 of Emily and none of Aaliyah (which nearly happened. Aaliyah is much the quietest of them all).  In fact, the person I got fewest pictures of in the end was Miss B herself.  She was so busy chatting, dancing and helping her friends create 'looks' she nearly forgot to be photographed.
One girl so heavily disguised even her mum didn't immediately recognise her!
I took loads of pictures in which the kids gurned, posed, went all Vogue and gangsta, and nearly fell down laughing.  It was great fun.

Then I put out the food for them to dig into before settling them down to watch Maleficent on DVD in one room while I edited and printed off the photos in the other.  Each girl got her photos as a party bag, along with cake and sweets. I bought 3-packs of those little perspex blocks that hold a crocodile clip for displaying a photo, so each party-goer got her own best shot displayed.  I emailed the others to their mums.

All in all, with the cake, sandwiches, brownies, mini-cupcakes, crisps, hummus, veg sticks, grapes, blackcurrant squash, party bag bits and photo paper, I think the cost of the party came to under £40.  My Very Excellent Mate Kirsty loaned us the DVD and most of the dressing up things were items we had already - especially hats.  We do love hats. One of the most fun and affordable parties I've done in ages. 

Before I took the photo studio down, Luke did a quick Zombie Apocalypse 3-D pose. Try not have nightmares OK? If you feed him pizza he probably won't kill you.


  1. I've been getting into zombies lately. The Walking Dead, obviously. And I've read World War Z, which was brilliant, and a kindle book called Dead South, about zombies in south London which was very funny.

    Party sounds fun too, I suppose, in a "well, I'd probably prefer zombies" fashion :-D

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  3. Oh, and how cute is Mark? Very cute :-)